Cocaine is a widely abused drug in the United States and a significant but not well-studied problem in adolescent populations. Cocaine craving seems to be more crucial than other variables related to abstinence because it may lead directly to cocaine use and the recurrence of addiction. Previously, the authors demonstrated with adults that cocaine craving could be induced in a group setting by presenting certain visual and auditory cues on a video monitor. This study investigates the phenomenon of cocaine craving in adolescents.
Subjects were adolescents aged 14 to 17 years who had abused cocaine and were attending the 6-week adolescent inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. The subjects viewed a 36-minute videotape with salient cocaine cues. Immediately before and after the exposure, subjects were administered 20 cm analog measures of craving, mood, energy, and wellness.
Of the 32 subjects completing the study, 25 adolescents reported increased craving upon exposure to video cues (from x
=6.74 to x
<0.0001). Changes in craving were significantly correlated with changes in mood, energy, and sense of well-being.
Cocaine craving is a phenomenon present in adolescents and may be induced through audiovisual cues.